UGA Faculty Members Express Concern Over ‘Campus Carry’ | WABE 90.1 FM

UGA Faculty Members Express Concern Over ‘Campus Carry’

Apr 26, 2016

With one week left for Gov. Nathan Deal to veto or sign a bill the “campus carry” bill, some faculty members have ramped up their efforts against the measure.

Ivan Ingermann, associate professor at the University of Georgia’s film and theater department, said he and many of his colleagues don’t want guns in their classrooms.

“We're saying it, we're just not being heard, and that's the frustrating part,” he said.

He said if the bill becomes law, he would seriously consider leaving the university if he gets another offer.

“It's really our place, it's our work,” he said. "We know better than a couple of legislators that have, you know, rarely set foot on a college campus unless it's game day."

The measure, HB 859, which passed the General Assembly this year, would allow licensed gun-owners 21 years and older to carry concealed firearms on campus, except in student housing, fraternity and sorority houses and at athletic events.

Deal has previously expressed concerns about the bill, including allowing guns in campus day care centers and disciplinary hearings, and has so far remained quiet on how he’ll act on the bill.   

Supporters of the bill say students needs weapons to defend themselves on campus.

John Monroe, vice president of GeorgiaCarry.org, said he hopes the governor will sign the measure and thinks that he will.

“I suppose some feel unsafe with people carrying guns anywhere, but that's not the society we live in,” Monroe said. “People carry guns all over the state today, and there's really no reason for college campuses to be different.”

The bill's sponsor Rep. Rick Jasperse, R-Jasper, said the measure is about responsible gun-owners who already have licenses and that classrooms are public property.

“Who are we talking about? Good Georgians who have done the right thing throughout their lives,” Jasperse said. 

"When we look in a classroom situation, those people are there to defend themselves. That's secondary. They're there to learn. They're not going to be threatening, professors, and teachers and TA's.” he said. 

If the bill becomes law, some faculty say they'll keep on fighting. Magdalena Zurawski, assistant professor of English and Creative Writing at UGA, has helped organize a social media campaign opposing the legislation.

She said opponents are looking into legal options if the bill becomes law, as well as other options.  

“The bill doesn't exactly specify what a fraternity house is so there is some people talking about declaring every department a fraternity,” said Zurawski.

According to the bill, fraternity houses would be exempt. A rally is scheduled against the bill at UGA Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the National Rifle Association has been calling on supporters to urge the governor to sign the measure into law.